Tips for staying healthy in the sun
Summer is here, so as we prepare for weekends away and summer day trips take a minute to read our sun safety advice, and get to know what health help is available nearby. You can use the free Health Help Now app to see opening times for pharmacies and get advice for common summer health complaints.
Make sure you:
- drink plenty of water
- stay in the shade between 11am – 3pm
- take rest breaks if you’re out and about
- wear sunscreen above SPF15 and cover up in the sun.
Key advice in hot weather includes:
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
- Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. Take water with you if travelling.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, older people, young children or animals.
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter). Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors. Wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to eyes and apply a sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection.
Posters for your workplace, home or community
Download and print copies of the summer posters (PDF, 3.3 MB) for your workplace.
If you are having trouble printing the posters above, you can print them in a smaller size (PDF, 1.1 MB).
Where to get the right advice and treatment
As always, people are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt, NHS111 can help you get the right treatment or you can find more information on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx
The free web and downloadable Health Help Now app can be used to check your symptoms or to find out when and where local services are open. It can be downloaded to mobile phones (from the App Store and Google Play store), tablets, laptops and desktop computers from www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net
Heatwave and protecting vulnerable people
Heatwave alerts are often announced during July and August, and there is some key advice from health experts to help everyone stay safe and well in the sun.
Vulnerable people are at the most risk when temperatures start to soar. As most heat-related health problems occur in the first two days of a heatwave (temperatures over 70 C), it’s important to make sure we are all prepared to reduce harm from a potential heatwave. We work with Kent County Council and other partners to prepare for heatwaves and alert the public.
Health and social care workers identify the people they care for who are most at risk and make plans to protect them if a heatwave happens. When a heatwave is forecast, staff start checking on vulnerable people and make sure steps are taken to protect them.
Who is at risk?
The heat can affect anyone, but some people may be more at risk, including:
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart, breathing or mobility problems
- people with serious mental health problems
- people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control (for example diuretics, antihistamines, beta-blockers and antipsychotics)
- people who are already ill and dehydrated (for example from gastroenteritis)
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active (for example soldiers, athletes, hikers and manual workers)
- homeless people
What can you do?
A few simple steps can help protect yourself and others during hot weather.
Make sure that you and your friends and neighbours are ready and equipped for a heatwave. check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves and make sure they have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medication they need.
The links below provide further advice about how to protect yourself and others:
- NHS – being prepared in hot weather
- Public Health England heatwave advice
- Met Office Heat-Health Watch describes the four levels of heatwave response
If you need medical assistance and it’s not an emergency call 111 or visit NHS.
General summer health advice:
More advice on Keeping cool in Kent: www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave
Heatwave Plan for England: www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england
NHS “Cover up Mate” campaign: www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx